Thursday, December 28, 2006

Comparing Wood-Mode to Local Custom

At 12:19 PM 12/28/2006, you wrote:
I am in the process of doing a total remodel of my 33 year old kitchen including extending kitchen some 200 feet.
I have a quote from a kitchen designer for Woodmode for $83,000.
I also have a quote from a local well respected custom cabinet maker for $43 000.
I am inclined to go with Woodmode for all the reasons you described, but am having a difficult time swallowing the $40,000 gap.
I suspect the difference is due to the kitchen designer's mark-up.
Are there any acceptable benchmarks for Designer mark-ups on Woodmode products?
The arrangement I have with my interior decorator is that I pay her an hourly fee of $100 plus a 10% mark-up over wholesale price.
That arrangement seems very fair to me.
Also we intend to paint the cabinets.
Does that mitigate the problem of the catalytic conversion varnish finish?
Thank you for your help.
This is a difficult subject for an amateur.

There is absolutely no advantage to buying Woodmode over fine local custom of similar quality if you are ordering Woodmode unfinished. The real reason to buy manufactured cabinets is the finish.
I'd keep your 40K for another purpose IF the cabinet quality is truly comparable.

You can compare by getting the Woodmode specifications (material dimension details are in the catalog) and asking the cabinetmaker to build to them.

Thing is, there are a zillion ways to cut costs in cabinetmaking, and Woodmode is made to their spec.
The only way to find out if the dealer is overpriced (unlikely in the current environment) is to go to another dealer and compare.

Using the shopping template on my web site makes that easy.
Dealers don't typically give interior designers much of any discount unless they are doing ALL of the work the dealer would normally do.

Wow! 200 feet! That's 2/3rds of a football field! :-D


Mansion Ghosts

In 1991 I was asked to co-design my first decorator's showhouse.
The property was notorious in our area.
The Carolands Chateau was built by the heiress to the Pullman fortune in 1915.
It was reputedly the largest home west of the Mississippi and had fallen into disrepair after the death of it's longest inhabitant, Countess Dandini, an eccentric music lover.
In the 1980's it was the scene of a horrific crime involving a caretaker and two teenage girls, one of whom did not live to tell the tale.
Needless to say I jumped at the chance to work on such a home.

The room we won was a former bathroom that the Countess had made into a makeshift kitchen, removing the tub, sink and toilet and adding a large stove and hood and covering the grand mouldings with a sheet of stainless steel.
It was a disaster with good bones.

My co-designer shortly announced that she was getting a divorce and moving across the country, so I was soon left on my own with the room.
I relied a great deal on the generosity of other designers there to help me through the ins and outs of such an endeavor and managed to complete the work in time for the grand opening gala (no small feat).

I am not much of an interior designer (she chose the colors), so it wasn't until after my photographer (David Livingston) came in and restyled the room that it really showed it's best.

The house was open for six weeks of mobs coming through, everybody curious to see the notorious house.
I was there every day, and always opened the windows because it was so stuffy everywhere else in the house in our Indian Summer.

Visitors would literally RUSH to the open window to catch a breath of air.
Throughout that time I never had a problem with the windows at all.

When the showhouse was over I had to remove everything from the room and restore it to its previous state, at the owner's insistence.

We had done that, and I was doing a last look around the forlorn pink room to make sure nothing was forgotten.
I was warm after many trips up and down the stairs, so I went to the window to open it one last time and look again out over the Bay.

As I opened the window it was ripped from my hand by an ill wind.
I can not characterize it any other way and have never forgotten the feeling.
I struggled with all my might to close it, but could not.
I had to call my contractor friend, who was helping me, to get it closed and properly locked.
And he needed to go down and get tools to accomplish the task.

I couldn't help but think that the ghosts of the house were unhappy that we were all leaving with our beautiful adornments and crowds of admirers.

The fleeting room, that was left to its ghosts, won a first in the NKBA design competition the following year.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Contractors More Available

Here's an interesting article from the WSJ about remodeling contractors being more approachable lately. Particularly note the sentence about builders moving to remodeling.
These are NOT your best remodelers!
They are accustomed to being in CONTROL and not with dealing with homeowners who are living on THEIR jobsite.

"Finally, the Contractor Will Take Your Calls"
Wall Street Journal (10/12/06) P. D1;
Munoz, Sara Schaefer

The slowdown in housing construction will benefit homeowners interested in remodeling, as contractors now have plenty of time to take on new projects.
"Rather than saying 'call me next spring,' they'll be more likely to say 'I'll be over this week to talk about the project," says Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies senior research fellow Kermit Baker.

The drop in new-home building also has sparked declines in the prices of such materials as framing lumber, gypsum, and plastics, shaving anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent off renovation costs, according to economists.
In an effort to generate business, custom and speculative builders increasingly are doing remodels, with experts underscoring the importance of hiring a contractor with actual remodeling experience.

In addition, experts are urging homeowners to put off renovations if they plan on moving in the near future, as they will not be able to recoup as much of their investment as they would have during the housing boom.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Farmhouse Sinks

Give us your thoughts on a farmhouse style undermount sink with apron 30" x 18 ½", 12" depth.

Thank you,

You may be surprised at how deep (13-1/2"D) that sink will be when it is undermounted.
In a standard 36" high counter installation the bottom of the sink will be 22-1/2" from the floor.

Stack up some books to make 22-1/2" high and see whether that will be a comfortable height for washing a pot or preparing vegetables, etc.
Run through the motion of scrubbing a pot.

Your garbage disposal will also hang pretty low in the cabinet below.

I suggest a shallower sink. A sink mounted under the counter should be 8-10" deep. Integral solid surface sinks ( like Corian) can be a bit deeper because they are mounted under a 1/2" or 3/4" thick countertop.

There is also something else about a farmhouse sink of which people are unaware until they use one:
The apron of the sink is at 34-1/2" from the floor rather than the usual 36" height we are used to leaning against as we work at the sink. This is because a farmhouse sink MUST be mounted under the countertop material to be leak proof at the edges.

It takes some getting used to. People with bad backs complain about the difference. And if you are bent over at your sink all the time you could develop a bad back even if you don't have one now.

Even though you might often see a romantic photo of a farmhouse sink in a magazine, mounted flush with the countertop; there is no way to waterproof such an installation (unless it's a seamed-in Corian sink and counter).
It WON'T last. Water will seep down the sides of the sink and ruin the cabinets and flooring and beyond.

So, before you fall in love with and invest in a farmhouse sink, try it on for size by finding one in a kitchen and bath or plumbing showroom. Then you won't curse yourself when you are tired and cleaning up after that long dinner party.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hoods, Noise and Venting Q & A

At 12:46 PM 9/5/2006, you wrote:

Hi Peggy,
Quick question:
I went to purchase our Viking Range and Hood and was asked and/or told the following so before I purchase, I want to make sure what I order will be accomodated in our kitchen plan.

1- I was told I had to order the 27 inch depth hood. Although, we talked about 24 inch depth.
Do you know of a reason why I should consider the 27 inch?

2- I have a choice between a 1200 or a 1500 CFM external motor for the hood.
Do you have a preference? (Which by the way, I didn't realize that the motor didn't come with the hood. Note to self.)
Thanks for getting back to me as soon as you can.
I would like to place our appliance order in the next day or so.
Hope all is well,

The 27" deep hood will capture more of the smoke and steam and fumes off of the range than a 24" deep hood would.
A column of heated, greasy, air comes off a pan and spreads 3" in a 30" rise from the pan surface to the hood.

That means a 12" fry pan gives off an 18" diameter plume by the time it gets to the hood.
If there is no hood over part of the column, some of the greasy steam will rise to the ceiling and spread into the room.
There is no such thing as a hood that can capture and pull grease-laden air beyond its overall dimensions.
This becomes a cleaning issue over time.

There are other considerations though...

The height of the user(s) is definitely an issue.

I would hang some cardboard to mock up the bottom of the hood at 66" from the floor, sticking out 27", to see if it is an issue for the cook.
It likely could fact, the 24" deep one could be an issue too.

Another option of course is to hang the hood higher to get it up out of the way.
Viking says we can go up to 72" high (although that is really marginal in my defies physics).

We already are using a 54" wide hood with a 48" range so we have the capture of the 3" in 30" rise covered on the sides.
If you go with the 27" deep hood we will have it covered in the front.
BUT the column of steam keeps expanding as it rises, so the higher the hood the bigger it needs to be to capture everything.
Raising the hood above 66" will again lose some of the steam in the front.

There is also the issue of venting the hood to the rear, which is desirable in this case.
If we raise the hood, that option likely goes away, since Viking recommends 24" of vertical rise before turning the vent pipe to the rear.
Unless your house has balloon construction (wall studs that go from the foundation all the way up to the roof), we only have about 24" available if the hood is mounted at 66".

I would use the 27" only if it is comfortable (or you can LEARN to be comfortable) using the range with the hood at 66".
If it's not, I would skip it and stick with the 24".

Now, on the hood motor choices:

I strongly recommend an INTERNAL motor for your hood rather than the external ones they want you to buy.
The reason to buy an external motor is touted as the noise factor.
This is a fallacy.

The noise a hood makes is directly related to how it is vented.
This is why I asked you to be sure to read the caveats about hood venting on your appliance specifications.
If you plug in a hood fan without having it attached to the vent and run it, you will find it makes almost NO NOISE.
The noise you hear when it is all assembled and installed is the noise of the air rushing through the vent pipes.

This is why I specify that all hood vent pipes be as LARGE as possible and as STRAIGHT as possible.
And, when turns in the pipes are necessary, that they be 45 and 45 degree turns rather than 90 degree turns.

90 degree turns cause AIR TURBULENCE in the pipes and contribute to noise.
I also specify that the pipes be supported and thoroughly sealed and insulated with pink fiberglass around them.
This is so they do not VIBRATE and create noise.
Vibration and turbulence are what creates the noise that people object to with their hoods.
Such vibration will be there, or not, no matter where the motor is.

Back to the hood motor...which should be 600CFM.

An internal motor pushes the air.
An external motor PULLS the air.
If you ever have a fire on the cooking surface, an external motor will pull the fire up through the pipes.
Cooking fires are the most common fires in the home.
An internal motor with a squirrel cage fan will cut off fire at the motor, so it will not get into the vent pipes.
This is why I recommend internal motors (they are also cheaper).
Safety, economy, nearly-quiet (when properly installed)...What more can you ask?

Share this email with your contractor.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Comparing Cabinets & Dealers

At 09:58 AM 2/17/2005, you wrote:
Hi,My husband and I are in the process of building our own home, and are serving as the general contractor ourselves.
We are looking into two brand name cabinets...Schrock and Starmark.

Are you familiar with these brands, and if you are, can you tell me what you think of one better quality?

Is one higher priced?
If you are familiar, maybe you could tell me which one you would use.

Any and all input would be great.

I found you through "".
Thank you in advance for your time.

I am not particularly familiar with either product.

I suggest you go to my web site and read over the article on Cabinetry.

Download the Cabinetry – Quality Standards - Cabinet Estimating Formula PDF.
print-friendly version of this article.)

Compare the product prices using the three cabinet formula.

Also compare the cabinet manufacturer's specs to see which has the thickest shelves, sides, top & bottom, drawerboxes. Which has the best drawer slides (rated in lbs. of load). The best finish (catalyzed varnish).
If the manufacturer's literature doesn't give these details you will have to ask the dealer for them (there will be a page in the manufacturer's catalog).

Then you will know which is the better value (on paper at least).

The intangibles, like:
good service, standing behind their product, delivering what they promise, etc., can only be learned by asking an honest dealer.

If the dealer is not honest, you will never know until you have a problem...then it is too late.

Check up on a dealer by asking them for some referrals to customers who had problems. Call the customers and ask if they were satisfied with the resolution?

Good luck,

Refrigerator: Cabinet Depth or Not?

At 08:25 AM 4/7/2004, you wrote:
We are looking for refrigerators.
Do we need to purchase one that is cabinet depth only?
Any other size restrictions I should be aware of?

The plan makes provision for a deeper refrigerator, if you prefer, by optionally building a recess in the stud wall behind to fit the refrigerator back about 3".
That is not enough to make most standard fridges look built-in though, since they are usually 30" or more deep.
We can also cover a deeper model with wider panels on each side, but that doesn't fool anybody. It still will look massive.

With some kitchen plans you absolutely need a cabinet-depth fridge, but with Plan B any depth can be accommodated.

It is most important to get an Energy Star refrigerator to minimize your use of electricity.

I personally like cabinet-depth models because they are shallower and I don't lose things in the back.
The things you can't store are the things that go green and fuzzy or slimy anyway.

I also prefer freezer-on-the-bottom models; although, unfortunately, they don't offer ice & water through the door.

Sone level (noise) should also be an issue you check out since noisy refrigerators are very annoying.
If it's noisy when new it will only get worse as it ages.
Also, don't tolerate a noisy fridge under warranty.
Make 'em fix it.

Interior fitments are also a concern, especially with side-by-side models.
Be sure to choose the model that offers the most flexibility in storage, rather than getting locked in with bins and shelves that are too specific and not flexible.

Glass shelves are nicer to keep clean because spills don't migrate down.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Q&A on LED Undercabinet lights

At 02:25 PM 8/29/2006, you wrote:
I am looking for under-the-cabinet kitchen task lighting via LEDs.
Do you sell such?
If not, can you direct me to a proper source.
Thank you very much.

I do not sell product, just curiosity, knowledge and talent.
Permlight makes LED undercabinet fixtures.
You can buy them on the web, which means they will not be shown in any stores.
I don't think they are quite ready for prime time.
The concern is that they are sizing the fixtures to conform with Title 24 (California's Energy Code), to be interchangeable with fluorescents, without regard for the amount of LIGHT they produce for the comparable amount of wattage.
LEDs are assembled with arrays of tiny lights to make a lamp (light bulb).
I think they need to have enough LEDs in the array to produce a comparable amount of light.
Otherwise we designers need to put more fixtures up to get an adequate amount of light on the surfaces in a kitchen or bath.
I am still using fluorescents myself, though I am monitoring LEDs with great interest.
Randall Whitehead, the lighting designer in SF who inspired most of my interest in lighting, is using the downlights on some projects.
Nancy McCoy, another well known Bay Area lighting designer is currently not using them and, like me, waiting for further improvements.
She thinks they will be usable in a year or two.
Permlight has a new showroom in Martinez, CA...just opened last week.
Another maker is RSA (Cooper).
Other manufacturers in my file are Cree, LumiLeds, Nichia, Osram, Seoul Semiconductor.

Friday, July 14, 2006

World Cup Pergola Construction

The Big Game is over, at least for another four years and so is our excuse to delay our outdoor living projects for this summer - so why not start to build yourself a dedicated World Cup Pergola Construction.

It could be a great place to sit with friends and talk over the best goals, near misses, red cards and what could have been - all around the barbeque in the afternoons and in your new outdoor space throughout idylic summer evenings !

It could also be a great place to hang up your football memorabilia... at least for a little while, until the climbing plants and hanging baskets start to bloom and take over.

Whether you are celebrating victory or commiseratating until your team gets another chance in four years time - this could be the perfect moment to channel all that energy into a solid pergola construction that you can all enjoy this summer and that will still be there for your celebrations during the next World Cup matches for years to come.

Building a World Cup Pergola Construction over one or two weekends could be a real team effort - more hands to help carefully measure out the space - dig post holes, cut the timber, notch the wood and put the pieces together, really make building a pergola easier and quicker.

A Deck and Pergola extend the living space of your home and providing a link between your home and your garden. They also provide an excellent space for outdoor entertaining and family get-togethers.

We have prepared a number of articles to help you get started:

  • "Building a Pergola"
  • "Free Pergola Design"
  • "Free Pergola Plan"
  • "Pergola Building Plan"
  • "How to Build a Pergola"
  • "Pergola Construction"
  • "Pergola Footings"

and our...

  • "Pergola Kit Review"

all designed to help make your own special World Cup Pergola Construction and easy build.

If you are planning to build both a deck and pergola construction - we have around a dozen indepth articles on all aspects Deck Building that will help you pull both these projects together.

Get your planning permission - pick up your timber and hardware and enjoy the build.

Keep up the team spirit by creating a World Cup Pergola Construction that will provide a very special space that you and your family can enjoy now and still have a quality construction - all ready for the next big games.

About the Author

Susan has written numerous articles on home improvement and financing to help you make the most of your home both inside and out - these free articles are now available to you at

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006

    D.I.Y. will never DIE

    I am one hundred percent sure that D.I.Y. will never Die - but have you heard the recent reports that show people moving away from Do It Yourself trends of home improvement? - big stores are declaring staggering losses for the first time in many years on D.I.Y. products.

    The buzz is that D.I.F.M. - Do It For Me (or D.I.F.Y. - Do It For You) is taking over many areas of the do it yourself home improvement industry.

    One of the Biggest suppiers of timber, hardware, paint and all of the thousands of other great products available in this superstore - now provides around 40 different services that you can contract directly for someone (presumably well qualified) to come and do the improvements for you in your home.

    Another of the biggest superstores already has 24 services and is racing to catch up on this latest trend.

    While these services will provide professionals from your local area - and I guess you can believe that the workmanship and finish should be of a reasonably high standard - because important store names and reputations are at stake - D.I.Y. just isn't going to fade away.

    Having experienced professional help is great - phew what a relief just to get the job done and done right - but there will always be projects that can be done successfuly BY YOU in your home - which will save you money, give you a great feeling of accomplishment and increase your knowledge ready for your next home improvement and financing project.

    D.I.Y. will never DIE - forget electical work, plumbing and anything else that you don't have enough knowledge about to do safely and correctly - you can leave those projects to the experts - but what about those kitchen cupboards, your outdoor living area... your Deck Design, Pergola Construction or a great easy to put together Gazebo Kit!

    Don't lose heart if you were just planning a new project when you heard these reports - remember... every experienced tiler once upon a time laid his or her first tile - so if you have gathered all the information you can get your hands on and are ready to have a go - go for it (if in doubt - try tiling your laundry room or store room first - give yourself hands on experience in a less visable area.)

    Decking is another great home improvement project - you can build a simple ground level deck in your spare time and later build onto it and expand your outdoor living space. (the wonderful smell of freshly cut timber is right up there with freshly cut grass)

    Pergolas are just about the quickest, easiest and most economical way to totally change the look of your home - a plain back wall of a home can become a mediterranean paradise in a matter of hours - not ready to dig deep pergola postholes and get started? - why not try an nice small garden arbor first - to build on your experience.

    Without a doubt it's easier to contract your project out - the services these superstores offer is a wonderful addition and will provide many people without the inclination or time to renovate or build - the opportunity to also improve their homes and quality of home life...

    But, hey - another great reason why D.I.Y. will never die is that if there is no longer any D.I.Y. then there won't be any I.D.T - isn't it wonderful when you actually finish a project to a high standard and you can say "I Did That"

    I am ready to stand up and shout - I'm a BOOMER and I LOVE D.I.Y.

    About the Author
    Susan Eland writes home improvement articles, tips, plans and ideas on the different ways you can improve the value of your home or simply improve the quality of your home life - you can read more articles at Home Improvement and

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Outdoor Living 2006

    Preparing for Outdoor Living 2006 is one of the hottest home improvement and financing projects for the first half of this year.

    After a long and tempestuous winter with storms, flooding and snow fall, we are all ready for this spring and the following summer months when we can enjoy real quality of life days and evenings at home with our family and friends.

    The most popular Outdoor Living 2006 projects are...

    Building Pergolas

    Putting up Arbors

    Improving Patio areas

    Deck Designs

    Constructing Gazebos

    Hot Tubs

    and... Swimming Pools

    Of course many of these projects are best when combined, a deck construction which connects the home with the garden perfectly is often finished off with a gazebo in an area where the decking extends out from the typical deck patio.

    A Hot Tub installation is more often combined with the construction of a gazebo hot tub enclosure.

    When you prepare a tiled patio it's easier to combine the preparation of the ground as you level it out - by digging post holes ready for your pergola which will result in giving a mediterranean look to your outdoor space with climbing plants and to provide shaded areas where you can sit out longer in the mid day sun and enjoy your garden life.

    Without a doubt, the hottest project this year appears to be Pergola Construction, last year everyone was more focused on decking... and this year they want to at least partially cover that decking by putting together a pergola plan.

    Gazebo kits are very popular because, with adequate ground preparation and careful study of the instructions, you can have a peaceful and elegant gazebo - giving outdoor space under roof... constructed over a weekend - if you can get some good friends to work with you.

    If you are turning your attention back to your swimming pool - which normally faces neglect over the winter months, you'll know that it's time to get everything cleaned out, make sure the tiles haven't lifted, that there are no cracks in the inner walls and check and clean all the filters ready for some summer fun.

    If access to your pool bothered you last summer, you still have time to decide how you are going to make life easier and safer to get to and from - in and out of your pool. You may be looking at non-slip pool decking or tiling the area with a rough tile that doesn't heat up too much under the glare of the sun.

    You still have time to visit garden shows for more ideas and take advantage of any spring sale to get your hands on materials at great prices.

    If you need to order materials for your project try to do it now, everything points to this being a boom year for outdoor living projects so make sure that you get what you need before availability levels really drop.

    Now is the time to decide what type of Outdoor Living 2006 project is going to really enhance your home and help ensure that this is the best fun summer ever.

    Best Building wishes
    Home Improve Sue

    about the author:
    Susan has written numerous articles on decking, pergolas and gazebos as well as other aspects of both exterior and interior home improvement and financing options, you can get more ideas, tips, plans and information on Outdoor living 2006 at Home Improvement and to help you make the most of this summer.

    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    Home Improvements at Easter Time

    Happy Easter Greetings to you!

    This is such a wonderful time of year, spring is in the air, the daffodils are coming out and families are coming together - There's nothing quite like the smell of freshly cut timber, the hum of the drill, the thud of the screw gun and the sight of a plan coming together.

    This is the biggest traditional break before the summer holidays, so if anyone is talking Home Improvements at Easter Time - there's a good chance that they - or even you... are busy planning your summer home remodeling project.

    Get togethers are a great opportunity to ask any extended members of your family how their own home enhancing projects are going, someone might be busy with plans similar to yours and their experiences or recommendations may well help you to find the right contractors and experts to work on your home.

    This is a great conversation topic, there is just so much to talk about from plans, permits, contractors, insurance cover, time lines, budget and one of the most popular questions - "What materials did you use?" - and you can usually depend on family and friends to tell you all the ins and outs, the pitfalls they have encountered and how they overcame problems to get to the satisfactory finished results they were looking for.

    If you are actually busy with a build during this long weekend - you are right - you could complete your decking to have it ready for the summer, or you could construct your gazebo kit and have that special place to relax and enjoy your garden - or you could give your patio a pergola cover... which will mean that the climbing plants will be well settled in to give you a decent foilage cover for the summer holidays, but...

    whatever you are doing, if you are involved with Home Improvements at Easter Time, please don't forget to give youself time to kick back, relax and enjoy your chocolate egg!

    All the best


    p.s. Just to remind you... the two full weeks left in April, just following Easter time, the weekend starting Friday 21st April and the weekend starting Friday 28th April - are jammed packed with Home Show 2006 events up and down the country - you can have a look at the April list on our site to help you find the best home improvement show near you.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Preparing for your 2006 Project

    Are you busy running around Preparing for your 2006 Project so that you can complete your next home improvement project in time for the summer.

    Once you have decided on the most beneficial project that will enhance your home for both comfort and value - it is a race against time at this time of year to find the right "fully qualified and insured" people to help you complete in time to be able to enjoy the summer sun at home.

    It's a fact that most great home improvement contractors are booked up well in advance so if you haven't yet found the right team but you want the work done in time for the holidays - you have to work on your short list now and follow up on all the references - both on paper and by visiting their most recent completed works.

    There is a lot to think about and prepare if you are planning a big home improvement remodeling project - from organising your home equity line of credit - deciding on plans and materials to use - and a time line that you or a contractor needs to work to.

    Visiting a local Home Show 2006 is a great way to discover new materials and building techniques as well as meeting qualified experts in your area - have a look at the March and April Home Show 2006 Listings now available to you on our Web site to find a home improvement show near you.

    Whether you are imaging a new remodeled kitchen or an inviting bathroom - perhaps you are thinking more about outdoor living for the summer and want to build a pergola or buy a gazebo kit - there is still time to get organised.

    Preparing for your 2006 project to create a more usable space and a more valuable home takes time - and will take up a lot of your time during the project while you work on or oversee the build but it does help if you keep focused what your home will look like once the work is finished.

    Enjoy your Home

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Kitchen Island Design

    Are Kitchens really coming OFF the wall!

    There is an ever growing trend for a full Kitchen Island Design instead of having all the kitchen work surfaces facing the wall... can you imagine completely turning your kitchen inside out.

    Instead of having an empty floor space in the middle of the room surrounded by base cupboards, kitchen counters and wall cabinets - you could change in all around - lose most of the wall cupboards and cabinets and work around one big center kitchen unit.

    One big advantage of a Kitchen Island Design is that you are creating a much more social kitchen - the island will be one complete level piece or could be split leveled. One half is for the family chef and the other half is used as a breakfast (or any meal) bar.

    At the chef's side you will find a drawers top to bottom of the unit - some big enough for pots and pans, every day plates, crockery and kitchen utensils - special knife drawers could have safety catches to keep your best choppers away from little fingers.

    Often you also have place for spice jars, vegetables and the daily bread and kitchen cloths, everything easy to reach.

    What is important about the cook's side of a kitchen island design is that everything that you usually use when cooking is easily 'at hand' whenever you need it!

    In smaller kitchens the kitchen island design is often a compromise in that it may be attached to the outer kitchen cabinets at one side - but can still be effective enough for you to gain all the advantages of a kitchen island design even in limited spaces.

    If you want to have a look at basic kitchen island plans for large and luxurious kitchens and also a kitchen island idea for small kitchens then go ahead and take a look at the full article at Kitchen Island design

    It can mean a radical change in planning - especially if you have always been used to having all your kitchen cupboards and kitchen cabinets screwed to the wall.

    Instead of bending over kitchen counters under artificial light and banging your head on the wall cabinets - there is so much more enjoyment from working in a well lit open space, with all the family gathered around your very own special Kitchen Island design

    The kitchens of the future will all styled around an innovative Kitchen Island Design

    Enjoy preparing your very own kitchen island design

    Kitchen Counter Review

    Our Kitchen Counter Review will help you decide which material and style will help make the most of your kitchen makeover.

    With so much to choose from, it can be difficult find the right look that fits into your kitchen improvement budget and the style of your home.

    If you are looking for a new and individual look you will find our 'low down' on the pros and cons of different emerging home kitchen counter materials like glass and stainless steel and the care they require.

    Find out why stainless steel - the mainstay of professional restaurant kitchens - is becoming more and more popular as a home kitchen counter - especially when combined with the latest design of a stainless steel kitchen extractor hood.

    We have also included in out kitchen counter review, granite which is the most popular choice worldwide for new kitchen counter installations.

    If you prefer the rustic look we have also included wood and a photo of wood that has been tinted green but that still allows the grain of the wood to show though.

    You will also find included in our review on laminates and formica, or you may prefer something totally individual with the help of your local and trusted carpenter - which is a kitchen counter combi - combining a laminate kitchen counter surface edged in pine.

    Another great way of combining different materials are inlays - often stainless steel or glass inlaid into a wooden or laminate surface.

    The quality of a kitchen counter and how it suits the type of decoration you have in your kitchen and in your home - can really make your kitchen renovation a success.

    Use our Kitchen Counter Review to find the right non porous, heat resistant, long lasting and attractive kitchen counter for your home.

    To your kitchen counter success...

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Home Show 2006

    The first of February signals a whole new month of great home improvement gatherings at the different Home Show 2006 events.

    Visiting a Home Show 2006 is one of the best ways to prepare for and kick start any new home remodeling project - and a Home Improvement Show in February is the perfect time of the year.

    The advent of spring just around brings with it many combined home and garden shows which are great not only for anyone planning to convert, build or repair the interior of their homes - but also for those already planning for those warm summer nights with outdoor living improvements.

    If you review the home show 2006 events for this February, you may be surprised to find that many events have free seminars and demonstrations of products - it's also where you can talk eye to eye with the professionals to really find the best plan or material to suit your project and your home.

    Anyone planning for a new kitchen or to give the bathroom a complete makeover will find the latest fixtures and fittings as well as invaluable advice on new materials and techniques.

    It's important to have the contact link of the event you want to visit BEFORE you decide to set off - not only to check up on event timetables and to see parking and admission conditions - but also to see in there are any home show discount coupons available from the relevant internet site.

    To help you find a Home Show 2006 event near you - take a look at what we have prepared for you at our Home Improvement Show in February article.

    And please remember - you'll be able to enjoy your home improvement show more by wearing comfortable shoes, and by drinking plenty of water - you can get more tips here on How to Survive a Home Show

    Hope you find what you are looking at any Home Show 2006 event and that you have a great day out!.


    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Small Bathroom Remodel

    Winter is when we often think of the need to plan a Small Bathroom Remodel project, because it's when we really notice to flaws everytime we have to use a room that is cold, damp, dark and unwelcoming.

    We often get annoyed with small bathrooms that are outdated and are not seen as a comfortable space where you can relax and pamper yourself. If you don't like your bathroom you are going to want to get in and out as fast as possible - and it can be difficult to envisage how you can improve when you are dealing with such a confined space!.

    During the warmer months it's easier to "live with it"... but what if you started planning now and made small bathroom remodel improvements that meant that you could create a warm and inviting room which meets the convienience needs of the whole family - all year round.

    New fixtures manufactured especially for small bathrooms are coming out of the woodwork and showrooms and home improvement shows really "showcase" the possibilities to transform your home.

    By making important changes to the flooring, fixtures and how much light comes into your bathroom you can make it seem like a much bigger space.

    Storage is also much more important when planning a small bathroom remodel and if you are taking the room back to the stud work - it should give you a chance to investigate the possibilities of creating niches between and within the frame work at strategic places around the room!.

    Don't give up on your small bathroom, there is always something that you can do to improve and make it a place where you can relax at the end of a hard day, take down the net curtains and install frosted glass or add color with stained glass and still maintain your privacy... but also allow much more light to flow into the room.

    Discover more small bathroom remodel tips and ideas with the following articles, Small Bathroom Design Solutions and also... Small Bathroom Remodeling Ideas and by combining the right remodel with the perfect Bathroom Colors you will find out how you can plan for a much better future for the smallest room in your home and learn to love it again by making a start on your Small Bathroom Remodel project.

    So don't turn your back on small bathroom makeovers... you won't be happy come next winter if you do! - create a haven now by giving your bathroom planning the time and TLC it needs!,

    Best building wishes
    @ Home Improve Blog